Rimonabant reduces obesity-associated hepatic steatosis and features of metabolic syndrome in obese Zucker fa/fa rats


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.


This study investigated the effects of rimonabant (SR141716), an antagonist of the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1), on obesity-associated hepatic steatosis and related features of metabolic syndrome: inflammation (elevated plasma levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNFα]), dyslipidemia, and reduced plasma levels of adiponectin. We report that oral treatment of obese (fa/fa) rats with rimonabant (30 mg/kg) daily for 8 weeks abolished hepatic steatosis. This treatment reduced hepatomegaly, reduced elevation of plasma levels of enzyme markers of hepatic damage (alanine aminotransferase, gamma glutamyltransferase, and alkaline phosphatase) and decreased the high level of local hepatic TNFα currently associated with steatohepatitis. In parallel, treatment of obese (fa/fa) rats with rimonabant reduced the high plasma level of the proinflammatory cytokine TNFα and increased the reduced plasma level of the anti-inflammatory hormone adiponectin. Finally, rimonabant treatment also improved dyslipidemia by both decreasing plasma levels of triglycerides, free fatty acids, and total cholesterol and increasing the HDLc/LDLc ratio. All the effects of rimonabant found in this study were not or only slightly observed in pair-fed obese animals, highlighting the additional beneficial effects of treatment with rimonabant compared to diet. These results demonstrate that rimonabant plays a hepatoprotective role and suggest that this CB1 receptor antagonist potentially has clinical applications in the treatment of obesity-associated liver diseases and related features of metabolic syndrome. (HEPATOLOGY 2007.)